Hi, I'm Michelle McAvoy, owner of Lovebugs Sleep Coaching and a Pediatric Sleep Specialist. I know if you're on my website that you're tired. And I want to help!
In the fall of 2011, I had the joy of welcoming my first daughter. As an expectant mother, I'd heard a million times over "get lots of sleep now, before life as you know it is over!". And once baby arrived, I was told "sleep when baby sleeps!". So, in the weeks and months that followed the arrival of my amazing baby girl, I kept telling myself that it was normal to be sleep deprived! And frustrated that the phrase "sleep when baby sleeps" sounds lovely...IF your baby sleeps! By the time my sweet girl was 5 months old, I found myself so sleep deprived that I was suffering. I wasn't functioning well. I wasn't the parent that I was determined to be. Desperate for answers, and more importantly, solutions, I started reading self-help books. I turned first to no-cry books. Because, I didn't want my baby crying it out! No way! I just wanted a magic answer that would allow me to nurture her in a peaceful and gentle way, while blissfully coaxing her to sleep. But after reading that book, all I felt was guilty that I wasn't strong enough to just get used to the sleep deprivation. Yet, when I told my husband this (who was now sleeping in a different room because the only way our baby would sleep was in my bed where she could nurse on demand all night long) he was quick to remind me that I was nurturing my baby. ALL DAY LONG! What I needed was to be sleeping during the night so that I could give her everything she needed during the day. So, then I turned to reading about the cry-it-out methods. After reading that material, I found myself crying at the thought of having to leave my child in the room crying hysterically while I walked away! I didn't trust any of the books to have "the answer" and nothing I read made me feel confident that it would be the right answer for us.
After reading these books (and several others) I found myself so conflicted and confused about how to solve this problem that was eating me alive! My daughter wouldn't sleep in the car, or the stroller, or her crib. So, guess where she did sleep? Yes, that's right...my arms. I was physically and emotionally drained. My marriage was suffering, and my relationship with my daughter was strained. I wasn't able to cope and I was losing my mind. And then, I met Pam. Pam, trained by Dana Obelman, creator of the Sleep SenseTM program, was presenting at a local baby fair that I attended. After a discussion with her, and a quick presentation, Pam had said all I needed to hear. The magic words.... I can help! She explained that there might be some tears. But that I wouldn't be expected to just walk away from my baby who was crying for me. And that I could gently teach my baby how to sleep. Not just for naps but for entire nights. 10-12 hours a night! And that my baby did not need to be feeding all night long. My husband and I booked Pam on the spot, and made the best investment in our lives. We invested in great sleep. For us and our baby!
We were so shocked when on the second night of using Pam's approach our daughter napped in her crib! And even more shocked when she stayed asleep for over 3 straight hours. Within a week our once hysterical daughter who needed to be walked around the house for hours every night while she fussed and needed the breast to fall asleep was very quickly putting herself to sleep and staying asleep! She is now a busy four year old and she continues to impress us with her amazing sleep skills!
When our youngest daughter was born, we chuckled when we heard people start joking about sleepless nights again. We knew that this time, armed with the knowledge and tools we'd learned through the Sleep SenseTM Program that we wouldn't be letting things get out of hand and we taught our newborn the gift of sleep at an early age. By 11 weeks of age, our daughter was sleeping 11-12 uninterrupted hours a night in her crib. And we were enjoying the same great rest down the hall. Again, I found myself thankful for this amazing program and I made the very easy decision to pursue a career as a Sleep SenseTM Consultant. I'm now on a mission to help change the lives of as many families as possible. I believe in giving back to my community and I can't think of a better way than helping to build healthy, well rested families! I was thrilled when Dana Obelman hand picked me to join her team and I'm enjoying spending my days teaching people that sleep deprivation is neither a normal or necessary part of parenting.